Tuesday 23 October 2018

Father-of-one jailed for role in burglary where husband and wife were tied up in home and threatened with imitation gun

Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A young Dublin father has been jailed for two years for his role in an aggravated burglary during which a husband and wife were tied up in their home and threatened with an imitation firearm.

The court heard that Declan Maxwell (20) and another man, who is now deceased, invaded the house and demanded money because they claimed the couple's teenage son owed a drug debt.

Maxwell, then 16-years-old, and the other man ordered the couple to hand over their bank cards and write down their PIN details.

These were then passed to a third person outside the home who used them to take €440 cash from an ATM.

The couple were then tied up with rope cut from the clothes line before the invaders made off with an Xbox, Wii console, Samsung Galaxy phone, a wifi router and runners, all valued around €1,000.

Maxwell, with an address at Rossfield Park, Fettercairn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at Stannaway Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin, on December 7, 2013.

The father-of-one is originally from Achill Island, Co. Mayo and has one previous minor conviction for possessing drugs.

Sergeant Kevin O'Shaughnessy said the man who is now deceased went to the couple's home a few days before the burglary and made a “veiled threat” about their son owing him money.

Sgt O'Shaughnessy told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that this man said “it would be a shame if anything happened” before leaving the house.

The couple were watching TV the day of the burglary, when the husband answered the door to Maxwell and the second invader. Both youths had their faces covered, but their clothing disguises kept slipping down during the one hour incident.

The court heard that the couple were terrified and tried to convince the raiders they had no money.

Sgt O'Shaughnessy told Mr Baker that at one point Maxwell was holding a kitchen knife in one hand and the imitation firearm in the other.

The raiders tied up the couple and cut the power to the house through the fusebox, before escaping with the stolen items.

The couple, who did not complete victim impact statements, freed themselves moments later and called 999.

Sgt O'Shaughnessy said Maxwell was stopped by gardai the following day for a random drugs search, when he confessed to the aggravated burglary.

The court heard was carrying a bag containing some of the items that had been taken from the house.

He admitted tying the couple up and possessing an imitation black Colt handgun that he had bought off a friend. He said this friend had purchased the imitation gun from an army replica shop the previous year.

Sgt O'Shaughnessy agreed with Rebecca Smith BL, defending, that the kitchen knife had been produced to cut the clothing line rope only.

He further agreed that there was no evidence against her client apart from his voluntary statement.

Ms Smith said her client was “naïve, young and impressionable”, that he had been taking substances and that his cousin died four days before the burglary.

She said Maxwell regretted his actions and accepted responsibility, though he was influenced by other people. She added that her client played a number of musical instruments and was interested in art.

Judge Martin Nolan said Maxwell participated voluntarily in the home invasion, which he described as a “reprehensible crime”.

The judge imposed a five-year sentence with three suspended and ordered that Maxwell undergo 18 month probation service supervision post release.

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